It was not the first time I'd been to Rome, but it was certainly the most memorable.
Walking without fear, entering unknown doors, and fully indulging my childhood curiosity of a cathartic nature, it was an experience that brought back fond memories of the old empire.
Among those memories, I came across one of the masterpieces of Baroque art: The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, a renowned sculptural representation of a spiritual experience described by Saint Teresa of Ávila, a Spanish mystic and Catholic saint who was born in Ávila, Spain on March 28, 1515.
Saint Teresa, known for her profound spirituality and visions, recounted an encounter with an angel and a divine union with God.
The sculpture was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an Italian artist, between 1647 and 1652 and can be found in the Cornaro Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy.
Bernini's masterpiece portrays Saint Teresa in a state of profound ecstasy as she experiences a deep spiritual connection with God. It is impossible not to feel the power of this masterpiece.
The sculpture depicts Saint Teresa in a reclining posture, her body appearing to meld into the stone as she responds to the divine intervention. Emerging from the cloud-like drapery, an angelic figure approaches her with a golden arrow, about to pierce her heart. This symbolizes the spiritual union between the saint and God, blending the earthly and heavenly realms.
Bernini meticulously crafted the sculpture, skilfully utilizing light and shadow to create a dramatic effect. The play of light, produced by a hidden window above, casts a celestial glow upon Saint Teresa's face, heightening the feeling of divine transcendence.
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is considered a masterpiece of Baroque art, and Bernini's exceptional sculptural talent also has the ability to convey emotional and spiritual depth. It remains an enduring symbol of Saint Teresa's remarkable spiritual journey and continues to captivate and inspire curious viewers from all around the world, like myself.
About the artist: Passion, above all, ruled the Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. He was an artist who made significant contributions to the worlds of sculpture, architecture, and painting during the Baroque period. He was born in Naples in 1598 and moved to Rome with his family, where he developed his artistic skills under the patronage of influential figures of the time, such as Michelangelo.
Bernini's sculptural works are renowned for their dynamic and theatrical qualities. He had a remarkable ability to capture movement, emotions, and dramatic tension in his sculptures, making them seem alive and dynamic. Some of his most famous sculptures include "Apollo and Daphne," "The Rape of Proserpina," and, of course, "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa," which I described above.
Aside from sculpture, Bernini also had a significant impact on Rome’s architecture. He designed and oversaw the construction of buildings, fountains, and public squares in the city. One of his notable architectural achievements is the colonnade surrounding St. Peter's Square in Vatican City. Bernini's design contributes to the grandeur and welcoming atmosphere of the iconic square.
In addition, Bernini's talent extended to painting, although he is primarily recognized for his sculptural and architectural works. He was trained by his father, and his paintings exhibit a similar sense of movement and dynamism seen in his sculptures.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini's artistic style had a profound influence on the Baroque period, and his works continue to be admired and studied by art enthusiasts and scholars worldwide. His ability to blend art, emotion, and spirituality, as well as his technical proficiency, highlight his enduring legacy as one of the greatest artists of his time.
Additionally, I had the privilege of conducting an interview with Moara Passoni, a talented screenwriter and film director, whose insights added depth to my understanding of Rome's artistic and cultural significance. Passoni's perspective sheds light on the enduring influence of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's work and its resonance in the world of cinema and storytelling.